Begin Again

Forewarning…this is a very serious post. It is also the post I promised I would never write: an update on my life. However, I do feel it is necessary, as there have been obvious signs of issues behind the scenes the last two months, such as the site moving, me taking uncharacteristic week-long absences from any posts or responses here, and unfortunate cryptic apologies written in the posts and responses that I have managed to write. Secondly, I also feel it is necessary as it directly effects the content herein, namely ‘guitar playing’ and ‘worship leading’, but most importantly the journey we all find ourselves traversing in order to somehow, someway, glorify God.

Due to courses of events set in motion about two months ago, I resigned my position as worship pastor at my home church as of two weeks ago. This past Sunday was my last day leading worship there. Of my own volition, the details and in-depth reasons for my resignation will not be mentioned in a public forum such as this blog; it is not about hurting people, but is rather about letting you know where I’m at, and where the posts the last couple months have come from. So the concise, and official reason for my decision is ‘due to reasons of conscience.’ And when I say ‘conscience’, I’m not referring to what you’d think I’m referring to; meaning, I’m not resigning because my conscience isn’t clear about the church banning all tube amps from being on stage, or the pastor saying God gave him a revelation that delay pedals were no longer to be used in service. ;) Or even something larger like the choice of songs, or differences in vision for the worship ministry. ‘Conscience’ refers to real, concrete, and unfortunately heavy Biblical differences, for which I feel that in order for myself personally to follow Jesus Christ’s example, I can no longer serve at my home church.

This decision has not been made flippantly, but has come after six weeks of intense praying, reading the words of Jesus, countless conversations with mentors, gut-wrenching personal meetings with those with whom I have Biblical differences, and much discussion with my incredibly supportive, wise, and Godly wife. I searched everywhere for another way out of this, but in the end, any way out other than standing on what I believe Jesus to be saying, would have been disobedience. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. I want to be humble enough to realize that I do not have all the answers. And in five years, I might look back on this and realize that I was dead wrong. However, after two months of praying, studying the Bible, and seeking Godly counsel, it came to a point where I had to make a decision; as well as, being on the core leadership of the church, I was asked point-blank to make a decision.

Needless to say (that’s such a pointless phrase, because you know I’m going to say it anyway), it has been a heartbreaking last two months. I’ve been at this church since I was nineteen, and am still continuing to be close friends with the leaders, staff, and members there. After all, I am going to spend eternity with these people. :) But for now, it is a very difficult time. God has not called me to take a step of faith like this in a long time. As of now, there is no other church to step onto, no other job or source of income lined up, and no plans besides God’s leading; which, if you know me or have read this blog for any amount of time, you’ll probably get how uncharacteristic this is of me. There’s a line in Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where a character asks about the metaphorical Jesus depicted in the book. And she asks, ‘Is he safe?’ And the response is, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.’ How I wish the Bible at any point mentioned that He were safe…but we can take comfort in the fact that He is good.

So what now? Well, at this point, looks like I have a lot more time for the blog! hehe Obviously, I did move blog domains, in order to better accommodate advertisements, which hopefully in the future might become a source of revenue as right now, I…well…have none. It has also helped make this place feel a little more accessible and homey, which I like. Other than that, there are no other plans except for pure excitement at what God may be doing in my life. That might mean another church, it might mean working at Home Depot, and it might mean something about which I have no idea as of yet. But there is a peace to knowing you’re in His purpose; and…let’s be honest…a certain amount of frighteningness. But that’s what forces us to rely on Him.

Time to begin again. And, as with every stage of life, there is a U2 song to give it a soundtrack:

To those of you who have been praying for me, I cannot say thank you enough for that encouragement. It means the world. It’s a difficult thing when God asks you to live it, rather than just talking (or blogging) about it, and I am so appreciative of everyone who has been helping me through it. Looking forward to the day when I can email everyone’s questions back without an apology for the length of time between responses, and we can just get on to talking about delay pedals. :)

Splendid.
Karl.

55 thoughts on “Begin Again

  1. Hey man, as little as I really know about your situation, I can empathize with how you feel. Not knowing where you are going or how you’re gonna get there can be extremely disconcerting, but know that your brothers (and sisters) are praying for you, and God DOES have a plan for you, even when it’s hard to see, or even when it’s been a couple years and it’s still hard to see, haha (which is where my wife and I were just about a month ago…) Keep faith! Prayin for ya man

  2. I was in the same situation as you 2 years ago but I cannot really say I know how you feel. I just know that it’s a very tough situation. Just know this: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11

  3. Samuel–thanks, brother. That’s huge.

    Nate–thanks, man. Nice to see a story of God bringing you guys through it, as well! :)

    Rhoy–thanks, bro. Great verse! :)

  4. Been there almost exactly two years ago. It sucks. I am praying for you. God does know the plans he has for you and he will take care of you. Take comfort in the words of Jesus Christ:

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

    John 14:1-4

  5. Join the club of not having a clue where you are going or what you are living for anymore but trusting in God… that was a big sentence.

    I’ve got an interesting meeting coming up at my own church and I know there are going to be clashes over beliefs. I just keep thinking “the vicar and my family are on my side, it’s all good”. If you could spare a prayer or two I’d be very grateful.

    Karl, I pray that God will bless you with everything you need in your life and that in Gods own time, his plans for your life will become apparent so that you may take the right path and that his will may be done through your actions on earth. I pray that you will be protected and kept safe and that in times of trouble you may find guidance and comfort from the Lord :)

  6. dude, i will praying fo sho. my dad actually just resigned his position (head music minister) at our church and he is without a job too. but hey, whenever Coldplay decides they need another guitarist, especially one who knows a lot about delay, you’ll be able get your bags packed even quicker!

  7. Hey Karl – long time stalker, first time poster. I’m a worship leader too, although I know a lot more about leading worship teams than I know about music and tone, which is why I love your blog. Maybe there are others out there like me, who could use your expertise in consulting on the more technical aspects of worship?

    Be confident that God has a reason to take you through this and that He will provide grace in your time of need. Heb 4:15-16.

  8. I know the Lord will bless you and your wife in all your endeavors because you sought Him first! Keep us all up to date as you’re able! I’ll be prayin for you, my friend.

  9. Someday soon you will be able to look back at this and see how this was all in God’s plan. I know, it’s really hard to see that in the moment…but the time will come. And that will be deeply satisfying to see how God provides and works things out. Trust in God, and rest in the comfort that He cares deeply for you and has a very specific plan for you. Romans 8:28, brother. I’ll be praying for you, Karl. And again, thanks so much for your blogging–love it, love it, love it! Please keep it up! :)

  10. Karl, thanks for sharing. And trust that God has a plan for you guys and will honour you for taking this difficult decision. I will definitely keep you on my prayer list!

    …. now if only I could convince my church, who are searching for a new senior pastor right now, that what we really need is a worship pastor… who needs preaching when you’ve got tubes and endless delay right? :)

    Bless ya, mate.

  11. Oh Karl,

    God is with you. So am I. I’m always here. Call anytime…even eastern time. He has not forgotton you. Here is a prophecy from a friend I received this morning. It might be for you:

    June 1, 2010. You are standing firm, aren’t you? I see you making your stand to be faithful in the face of adversities. All these things the enemy is throwing at you will be eliminated and evaporated at the hand of the Lord. His sword is sharp and swift. His breath is like a fire extinguisher. He blows on the work of the devil and His saints are suddenly delivered from the fire. You say, “What then is all this warfare about?” I say, the devil is bringing about attacks and hard times, but I am raising sons and daughters for My kingdom. I want them to know how to conduct overcoming warfare. I want them to be ready, strong, with eyes of the eagle and the will of steel. You are standing firm, aren’t you?
    Ephesians 6:11 (NASB) “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Ras Robinson

  12. trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    God is good ALL THE TIME.
    Rock on Karl!

  13. blah blah blah blah blah… tubes…blah blah blah blah blah… God first in everything…. blah blah blah blah blah… what a relief… blah blah blah blah blah….prayin and keeping eyes and ears open… blah blah blah blah blah… tubes…

  14. Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement. I kind of expected all the comments to be along the lines of, ‘Ya cool, but when’s the next pedal shootout?’ haha And you all have overwhelmed me. Thank you.

    Mike Oliver–thanks a ton, bro!

    Craig–thank you, brother. Really appreciate it!

    Charlie–awesome verse. Thanks, brother, and nice to hear from someone who’s been there and come out okay!

    James–thank you so much, and I will definitely be praying for you! When is that meeting?

    Nater2–thanks, bro. And I’ll be praying for your dad for sure. And could you put in a good word for Coldplay for me? lol That was a great comment, bro! :)

    Travis–great to have you here, brother, and thanks for the kind words. Awesome verse as well. :) Thank you!

    Doreen–thank you so much, for the encouragement and prayers! :) I really appreciate it!

    Darrell–thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement. :) And looks like I’ve got more time to blog than ever before! hehe

    Baggas–thank you, brother. And I agree…aren’t churches supposed to just have worship music constantly? Message? What’s that? ;) hehehe

    Thad–thank you. That means a lot, my friend!

    Mark H–thank you, brother. I totally appreciate all the encouragement, support, and prayers you’ve given me. Talk to ya soon!

    t–thanks, my friend! Awesome verse. :)

    Sal–lol Thank you, brother. Awesome comment. :)

  15. Karl, trusting God is freakin’ hard sometimes. Why is the most important thing the Bible tells you to do one of the hardest things to do?

    The bottom line is after some time passes, usually not even that much time, you’ll get a feel for where you are supposed to be. You’re obviously a talented guy, otherwise we all wouldn’t visit your page all the time.

    I would say good luck, but you don’t need it. You’re going to be fine.

  16. Hey Karl, praying for you from currently cold South Africa! I know God will come through for you. In Psalms, David said “God will never see the righteous forsaken or begging bread.” You’re one of the righteous according to God.

  17. David–seriously. lol You’re so right that the important stuff is the hard stuff! And thanks for the kind words…although I wouldn’t say my talent is what keeps people coming here…probably just the random dumb Nicolas Cage photos. ;) lol But seriously, I appreciate that.

    Mike ZA–beautiful verse, my friend. Thank you so much for that, and for the prayers!

  18. Been there, done that. It’s hard but you have to look at yourself in the mirror. I commend you on the humility (if thats not a contradiction!) because we do only see imperfectly. However, that’s how we’re made so we have to struggle through the tough decisions. Keep on submitting yourself to God, stay open to his leading and make the knob go to 11!

  19. Wow, that was too much honesty on the internet…

    Seriously, thanks for sharing. Put some more adds on the homepage, I’d gladly click on one each time I’m here, knowing it will help you pay for next months food, äh delay pedals

  20. Praying for you Karl. I went through something similar many years ago, but in my case it was being asked to be an Elder a long time before I was ready. I had only been a Christian a couple of years, and in retrospect was nowhere near mature enough ( Spiritually) for that role. After resigning and leaving the church, I learned some lessons about dealing with bitterness. So, as always, God used the experience.

    Reminds me of the song we just started doing: Your Love Never Fails Perhaps not the deepest lyrics ever written, but comforting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoezWBPGRAc

    Nothing can separate
    Even if I ran away
    Your love never fails

    I know I still make mistakes
    But You have new mercies for me everyday
    Your love never fails

    Chorus:
    You stay the same through the ages
    Your love never changes
    There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

    And when the oceans rage
    I don’t have to be afraid
    Because I know that You love me
    Your love never fails

    Verse 2:
    The wind is strong and the water’s deep
    But I’m not alone in these open seas
    Cause Your love never fails

    The chasm is far too wide
    I never thought I’d reach the other side
    But Your love never fails

    Bridge:
    You make all things work together for my good

  21. Karl, the meeting is on the 22 June.

    If it goes well we will be having other meetings between all the leaders in the church every 2 months to look at where the church is going, decide on new worship songs and share experiences and what we’ve learned. This first meeting is going to bring big change to the way my church does things in worship if a few of us get what we believe God is trying to say across to these other people.

    My vicar wanted to meet up with me beforehand so that will probably be soon, she believes in the same changes I believe in.

  22. I’m not super huge on Bible verses (I’m Catholic! ba da ch), but one that’s become anthemic in my life is this: “He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.” (Luke 9:3). Or, to repeat what everyone else is saying, God will provide, but I don’t think you’re overly worried about that. You’ve got my thoughts and prayers!

  23. Karl,

    Been away from the blog for a while because of….life. Sad to see what you are going through. Been there and regrettably…done that. Just remember that God does not require that we play for a congregation to worship him. I’ve spent as many worshipful hours praising Him and annoying my neighbors as I have uh…annoying the fellow members of my church. Keep the faith brother. Thank God that he granted you with a talent that can not only be used to praise him but also sooth a wounded soul. Even if that soul is yours. You are in my prayers man.

  24. Mark–thanks, bro. That mirror comment is right on. Thanks for the encouragement, and do they make amps that go below 11? ;) hehe

    Sam–thanks, brother. :)

    Randy–wow, great points that really hit home. I was also called a ‘staff elder’ at my former position, and I definitely don’t feel now at my age and experience level that that was Biblically sound. Nice to know others have been there as well. And thanks for those lyrics! I really appreciate it, brother.

    James–gotcha. I’ll definitely be praying for you!

    Ben–for someone not huge on Bible verses, you chose a killer one! haha Thanks for that, brother.

    Mark–wow, great advice there. Thanks a ton, brother. Hope life is going great for ya!

  25. Seth J–thank you so much, my friend!

    Eric–very humbling…some really good people out there.

    And I’ll return the favor…love ya as well. (Somehow saying ‘ya’ instead of ‘you’ makes it feel okay. lol)

  26. it took me a few days to get back to one of my fav sites…I miss the blog because bloglines would notify me of a new post. Anyway, I am praying for you Karl…I don’t even know what to say or share…the “church” can be a hard place…my journey has taken me to look more to the blessings of God in community than it does in the institution (despite the fact that I am still working in the institution). I am not blind to its faults, short-comings or its history. So…I’ll be faithful in praying for you…keep me in the “loop” of how you are doing…email me personally if you like! And if anyone starts getting words from GOD about delays,etc. they are obviously a false prophet and should be stoned. Simple enough!

    Robin
    rdugall@apu.edu

  27. Hi Karl
    I haven’t checked in for awhile… sorry to hear of your situation, but much respect for following what seems the right path. It would be so much easier to compromise, but that would be like a slow death, wouldn’t it?
    I’ll pray for you, for direction and blessing.
    I’m sure God will bless you and your wife, for following even when it’s hard.

  28. Randy thanks for sharing that song – I really love the lyrics/melody.

    It’s funny I’ve only recently discovered Jesus Culture and was just in the process of preparing to introduce one of their songs for the first time… might have to add that one to the list as well. Cheers.

  29. Robin–thanks so much, brother. I will definitely email you! Sounds like you have a lot of wisdom in this area. :)

    Don–thanks a ton, bro. That really means a lot right now. Thank you for the prayers!

    Hurricane Johnny–lol Comment of the day!! Wow, that really would be humbling. And I’m so checking into it right now. haha

    Baggas–ya, okay, you’re not talking to me. But, awesome stuff! hehe

  30. You were supposed to call me. (seriously don’t worry about it) :)

    I’ll be totally praying for you, brother. I’ve taken the advise of a friend and am having “church” the last week and at least this next Sunday by driving out to the beach, just praying and thanking God for all the good he’s surrounded me with. Already replacing busy-ness with peace has been wonderful for me. I’d recommend something similar.

    … although in your case you might want to spend that time in some boutique shop hugging some tubes or something.

    Give me a call if you want and/or if you need a mediocre rhythm player!

  31. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, bro. I may need to do both the beach and the tube-hugging. lol :)

    And my new phone’s plan is terrible! I’m trying to wait until the free weekends to do all calling. haha

    Hope you’re doing great!

  32. Karl.
    These are the moments that define us.
    You have been faithful, loyal, humble, generous, meek, and because of that (I believe) God has given you success, joy, responsibility, talent, leadership, a wife, the experience of a lifetime.
    I KNOW that God is with you, I KNOW he is working out his plan of redemption, your story of salvation, all to make much of who He is.
    This is the perfect end of one story, and the perfect beginning of another.
    I’d want a man of your stature by my side any day in this journey and as these comments show, so would many, many others.
    Take a minute and read 2 Samuel 7:18-29 sometime.
    “Good Times!”

  33. I didnt know you had a blog. I’ve enjoyed the worship you’ve led and hope to bump into you in the future.

    God bless you and your wife.

  34. Just sent you a message on FB, it ended up kinda long and personal so it made more sense to do it there, let me know when you get it. God bless you in this time brother!

  35. Hey Karl,
    lurker here.
    What are your new principles/beliefs?
    Email me. Just dying to know.
    “When all’s said and done, what does really matter to you?”
    may God grant you wisdom and discernment in every step that youll make.
    Havent told you, but, Thanks bro. Learned a lot from you.

    Thats one brave move man!
    God’s worth it. Found it out myself a few years ago after leaving my church of 12yrs. He’s worth more than the institution, the friendships, and all those praises you get along with the noise of approval up on stage.

    • pls check i think i put the wrong email add on the previous post.
      welcome! well you have an awesome day…it’s Sunday!


      Karl:

      Hey Jon, thanks a ton for that encouragement. That means a lot. I’ll send you an email as well. Have an awesome day!


      Karl:

      Hey Jon, thanks a ton for that encouragement. That means a lot. I’ll send you an email as well. Have an awesome day!

  36. I’m out of touch for a while and look what I miss! That being said, I get the whole conscience issue. I’ve seen it before. It’s sad how stuff well…my props to you Karl. Sounds like you made the right decisions.

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